The Beacon

Blog Tags: Dredging

Ocean Roundup: New Coral Reef Species Discovered, Seals Found to Spread Tuberculosis 6,000 Years Ago, and More

Fur seals may have spread tuberculosis 6,000 years ago

A Juan Fernández Fur Seal (Arctocephalus philippii). A new study says that seals may have spread tuberculosis 6,000 years ago. (Photo: Oceana)

- Seals may just be the culprit in having spread tuberculosis from Africa to the New World 6,000 years ago. A new study found that seals contracted the disease when they crawled ashore on African beaches to raise their young, and then brought it to South America, where hunters became exposed. The New York Times


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Officials Clamor for a Spill Solution

The size of the oil spill in relation to Washington, DC via http://paulrademacher.com/oilspill/ 

After this weekend’s attempt to place a dome on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill failed, and as tar balls began washing ashore in Alabama, officials are scrambling to figure out what to do next.

One plan involves building up almost 70 miles of barrier islands by dredging sand and mud, including some from the bottom of the Mississippi River, and depositing it onto the outer shores of the islands, a process that would normally require years of environmental assessment.

Sediments from the river are likely to be contaminated with a host of other chemicals, like mercury, which could add insult to injury in the already badly contaminated Gulf waters.

Some of these islands are home to bird and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. The plan may not work because the barrier islands have shrunk significantly, in part as a result of human engineering that has altered the flow of Mississippi for a variety of reasons -- including in efforts to facilitate oil and gas production.  


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